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Mahavira 24th and last Tirthankar
Jainism
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In Jainism, a Tirthankar (तीर्थंकर: "Fordmaker"; also Tirthankara or Jina) is a human being who achieves enlightenment (perfect knowledge) through asceticism and who then becomes a role-model teacher for those seeking spiritual guidance. A Tirthankar is a special sort of arhat, a person who has totally conquered base sensibilities such as anger, pride, deceit, or desire.

A Tirthankar is so called because he is the founder of a "Tirth" (literally, 'ford'), a Jain community which acts as a "ford" across the "river of human misery".

Contents

Overview

After achieving enlightenment, a Tirthankar shows others the path to enlightenment. The Tirthankar's religious teachings form the Jain canons. The inner knowledge of all Tirthankars is perfect and identical in every respect, for the teachings of one Tirthankar do not contradict those of another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of humans during that period. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind, the lower the elaboration required.

At the end of his human life-span, a Tirthankar achieves liberation ('moksh' or 'nirvan'), ending the cycle of infinite births and deaths.

Jainism posits that time has no beginning or end. It moves like the wheel of a cart. There have been an infinite number of time cycles before our present era and there will be an infinite number of time cycles after this age. As of 2010, we are exactly 2,537 years into the fifth era of the present half cycle.

Twenty four Tirthankars are born in each half cycle of time (that is forty eight in each full cycle), in this part of the universe. In the current (descending) half cycle of time, the first Tirthankar Rishabh Dev, lived sextillions of years ago and attained liberation ('moksh' or 'nirvan') towards the end of the third era. The 24th and last Tirthankar was Mahavira (599-527 BC), whose existence is a historically accepted fact. Digambaras believe that all twenty four Tirthankars were men but Svetambaras believe that the 19th Tirthankar, Mallinath, was a woman.

The next Tirthankar in our part of the universe will be born at the beginning of the third era of the next (ascending) half cycle of time, in approximately 81,500 years.

As Tirthankars direct us to enlightenment, their statues are worshipped in Jain temples by Jains aspiring to achieve enlightenment. Tirthankars are not God or gods. Jainism does not believe in the existence of God in the sense of a creator, but in gods as beings, superior to humans but, nevertheless, not fully enlightened.

Particular Tirthankars

Tirthankaras in British Museum

Depictions of the Tirthankaras in various forms, including images and statues, are always represented as seated with their legs crossed in front, the toes of one foot resting close upon the knee of the other, and the right hand lying over the left in the lap. Only two are represented differently: that of Parsvanatha, the twenty-third, who has snake-hoods over him, and Suparsva, the seventh, whom the Digambarashas depict with a smaller group of snake-hoods.

Digambara representations are quite nude, while those of the Svetambaras are clothed and decorated with crowns and ornaments. They are further distinguished from one another in representations by their attendant Yakshas and Yakshinis, as well as by their associated chihnas or Lanchans (cognizances) carved on the cushions of their thrones.

All but two of the Jains are ascribed to the Ikshvaku family (or Kula or Kul, which in Sanskrit means "heart community" or "intentional/chosen community/family"). Munisuvrata, the twentieth, and Neminatha, the twenty-second, were of the Harivamsa race.But as per Jain cannons Rishabha the first Tirthankar was the founder of the so-called Ikshvaku kula.

All but Rishabha received diksha (consecration) and Kevalgynan (complete enlightenment) at their native places. Rishabha became a Kevalin at Purimatala, Nemi at Girnar, and Mahavira at the Rijuvaluka river. Twenty Tirthankaras achived Nirvana on Sammet Sikhar. However Rishabha, the first, achieved nirvana on the Kailasa Mountain of the Himalayas as per digambar canons and as per shwetambar canons he achived nirvana on Ashtapad mount(which is no longer visibe to human eyes). Vasupujya attained nirvana at Champapuri in north Bengal; Neminatha on Mount Girnar in gujrat; and Mahavira, the last, at Pavapuri near patna in Bihar.

Twenty-one of the Tirthakaras are said to have attained Moksha in the Kayotsarga(standing mediation) posture; Rishabha, Nemi; and Mahavira on the padmasana (lotus throne poisture).

Narration Chart of 24 Tirathankars

For each Arhat the particulars are given below:

Tirthankar Heaven before birth Birthplace;
Consecration
Parents Complexion Symbol Height Number of Years Lived Tree Attendant
spirits
Male disciple;
Female disciple
Place of Nirvan Birth
1 Lord Rishabha (Adinath) Sarvarthasiddha Vinittanagari;
Palitana
Nabhiraja
by Marudevi
golden bull or ox 1,500 Meters 592.704 Quintillion Years Vata (banyan) Gomukha and
Chakresvari
Pundarika;
Brahmi
Ashtapad (Kailasha)
2 Ajitnath Vijayavimana Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Jita['s]atru
by Vijayamata
golden elephant 1,350 Meters 508.032 Quintillion Years ['S]ala
(Shorea robusta)
Mahayaksha and
Ajitabala;
or Rohi[n.]i
['S]i[.m]hasena;
Phalgu
Samet Sikhar
3 Sambhavanath Uvarimagraiveka Savathi;
Sravasti
Jitari
by Senamata
golden horse 1,200 Meters 423.360 Quintillion Years Prayala
(Buchanania latifolia)
Trimukha and
Duritari;
or Prajnapti
Charu;
Syama
Samet Sikhar
4 Abhinandannath Jayantavimana Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Sambararaja
by Siddhartha
golden monkey 1,050 Meters 352.8 Quintillion Years Priyangu
(Panicum italicum)
Nayaka and
Kalika; or
Yakshesvara and
Vajrasrinkhala
Vajranabha;
Ajita
Samet Sikhar
5 Sumatinath Jayantavimana Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Megharaja
by Mangala
golden curlew or
red goose
900 Meters 282.24 Quintillion Years Sala Tumburu and
Mahakali; or
Purushadatta
Charama;
Kasyapi
Samet Sikhar
6 Padmaprabha Uvarimagraiveka Kausambi;
Sammet Shikharji
Sridhara
by Susima
red lotus 750 Meters 211.68 Quintillion Years Chhatra Kusuma and
Syama; or
Manovega
or Manogupti
Pradyotana;
Rati
Samet Sikhar
7 Suparshvanath Madhyamagraiveka Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Pratish[t.]haraja
by P[r.]ithvi
golden
or emerald
swastika 600 Meters 141.12 Quintillion Years Sirisha
(Acacia sirisha)
Matanga
and Santa; or
Varanandi
and Kali
Vidirbha;
Soma
Samet Sikhar
8 Chandraprabha Vijayanta Chandrapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Mahasenaraja
by Lakshmana
white moon 450 Meters 70.56 Quintillion Years Naga Vijaya and
Bhrikuti; or
Syama or Vijaya
and Jvalamalini
Dinna;
Sumana
Samet Sikhar
9 Pushpadanta Anatadevaloka Kanandinagari;
Sammet Shikharji
Sugrivaraja
by Ramarani
white Crocodile 300 Meters 14.112 Quintillion Years Sali Ajita and
Sutaraka;
or Mahakali
Varahaka;
Varuni
Samet Sikhar
10 Sheetalnath Achyutadevaloka Bhadrapura or Bhadilapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Dridharatha-raja
by Nanda
golden Kalpavriksha or
ficus religiosa
270 Meters 7.056 Quintillion Years Priyangu Brahma and
Asoka; or
Manavi
Nanda;
Sujasa
Samet Sikhar
11 Shreyansanath Achyutadevaloka Simhapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Vishnuraja
by Vishna
golden rhinoceros 240 Meters 8,400,000 Years Tanduka Yakshet and
Manavi; or
Isvara and
Gauri
Kasyapa;
Dharani
Samet Sikhar
12 Vasupujya Pranatadevaloka Champapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Vasupujya
by Jaya
ruddy female buffalo 210 Meters 7,200,000 Years Patala
(Bignonia suaveolens)
Kumara and
Chanda; or
Gandhari
Subhuma;
Dharani
Champapuri
13 Vimalnath Mahasaradevaloka Kampilyapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Kritavarmaraja
by Syama
golden pig 180 Meters 6,000,000 Years Jambu
(Eugenia jambolana)
Shanmukha and
Vidita; or
Vairo[t.]i)
Mandara;
Dhara
Samet Sikhar
14 Anantnath Pranatadevaloka Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Simhasena
by Suyasah
or Sujasa
golden porcupine 150 Meters 3,000,000 Years Asoka
(Jonesia asoka)
Patala and
Ankusa; or
Anantamati
Jasa ;
Padma
Samet Sikhar
15 Dharmanath Vijayavimana Ratnapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Bhanuraja
by Suvrita
golden vajra 135 Meters 2,500,000 Years Dadhiparna
(Clitoria ternatea)
Kinnara and
Kandarpa;
or Manasi
Arishta;
Arthasiva
Samet Sikhar
16 Shantinath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura or Hastinapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Visvasena
by Achira
golden deer 120 Meters 100,000 Years Nandi
(Cedrela toona)
Garuda and
Nirvani; or
Kimpurusha and
Mahamanasi
Chakrayuddha;
Suchi
Samet Sikhar
17 Kunthunath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Suraraja
by Srirani
golden goat 105 Meters 95,000 Years Bhilaka Gandharva and
Bala; or
Vijaya
Samba;
Damini
Samet Sikhar
18 Aranath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Sudarsana
by Devirani
golden fish or
Pisces
90 Meters 84,000 Years Amba
(Mango)
Yaksheta and
Dhana; or
Kendra and
Ajita
Kumbha;
Rakshita
Samet Sikhar 16,584,980 Years Ago
19 Mallinath Jayantadevaloka Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Kumbharaja
by Prabhavati
blue jar or Kalasa 75 Meters 55,000 Years Asoka Kubera and
Dharanapriya;
or Aparajita
Abhikshaka;
Bandhumati
Samet Sikhar 6,584,980 Years Ago
20 Munisuvrata Aparajita-devaloka Rajagriha;
Sammet Shikharji
Sumitraraja
by Padmavati
black tortoise 60 Meters 30,000 Years Champaka
(Michelia champaka)
Varuna and
Naradatta; or
Bahurupini
Malli;
Pushpavati
Samet Sikhar 1,184,980 Years Ago
21 Nami Natha Pranatadevaloka Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Vijayaraja
by Viprarani
yellow;
or emerald
blue water-lily or blue lotus 45 Meters 10,000 Years Bakula
(Mimusops elengi)
Bhrikuti and
Gandhari; or
Chamundi
Subha;
Anila
Samet Sikhar 584,979 Years Ago
22 Neminatha Aparajita Sauripura and Ujjinta (Ujjain);
Mount Girnar (Girnarji)
Samudravijaya
by Sivadevi
black conch 30 Meters 1,000 Years Vetasa Gomedha and
Ambika; or
Sarvahna and
Kushmandini
Varadatta;
Yakshadinna
Mount Girnar 3228 BCE
23 Parshva Pranatadevaloka Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Asvasenaraja
by Vamadevi
blue snake 7.7142852 Feet 100 Years Dhataki
(Grislea tomentosa)
Parsvayaksha or
Dharanendra
and Padmavati
Aryadinna;
Pushpachu[d.]a
Samet Sikhar 877 BCE
24 Mahavira Pranatadevaloka Kundagrama or kshatriyakund ;
Rijubalika
Siddhartharaja,
Sreyansa or
Yasasvin
by Trisala
Vidchadinna
or Priyakarini
yellow lion 6 Feet 72 Years teak Matanga and
Siddhayika
Indrabhuti;
Chandrabala
Pava Puri 599 BCE

The total length of the lifespans of all 24 Tirthankar's combined equals 2.603672 Sextillion years.

See also

External links

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